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Introduction to Automotive Corrosion

By the early 1990s more than 50 million automobiles were being manufactured worldwide annually. Leading manufacturing areas were Japan, the United States, and Western Europe. There was also significant production in Eastern Europe and Latin America. The automotive industry is so vast that it influences, directly or indirectly, most of the people on Earth.

In industrial nations the level of automobile production has become a barometer of the economy and is closely watched by political leaders and business analysts. Changes in auto production directly affect the large steel, aluminum, petroleum, and rubber industries and their suppliers and employees. (see costs in the USA)

The corrosion of the most popular vehicle ever used in the history of mankind is a major concern to all of us. Unfortunately the corrosion problems are numerous and the solutions not well understood by the majority of car owners.

On a positive note, the number of people driving cars that are more then ten years old has risen from 32% to 44% in the last five years (circa 2004), which means that there are an awful lot of people out there that rely on the purchase of a used car to provide them with day to day transportation. In most cases a ten year old car has had at least two, possibly three owners. In some ways, it is a major credit to the car industry that cars now last so long. However, most manufacturers do not seem to care much what happens to almost half the population when the warranty expires. No doubt, the dealers all rub their hands with glee at the prospect of all those extra repairs and the parts manufacturers can look forward to a lot of extra sales in the after market. (reference 4)

This module will try to correct the difficulties associated with maintaining a car free of corrosion worries in the harshest conditions. let us start by clearing the case of the most troubling misrepresentation of information you can find on the subject, that is:

U.S. consumers, businesses, and government organizations own more than 200 million registered motor vehicles. Assuming the average value of an automobile is $5,000, the total investment Americans have made in motor vehicles can be estimated at $1 trillion. Since the 1980s, car manufacturers have increased the corrosion-resistance of vehicles by using corrosion-resistant materials, employing better manufacturing processes, and designing corrosion-resistant vehicles. Although significant progress has been made, further improvement can be achieved in corrosion resistance of individual components. The total annual direct cost of corrosion is estimated at $23.4 billion, which is broken down into the following three components: (1) increased manufacturing costs due to corrosion engineering and the use of corrosion-resistant materials ($2.56 billion per year), (2) repairs and maintenance necessitated by corrosion ($6.45 billion per year), and (3) corrosion-related depreciation of vehicles ($14.46 billion per year). (reference)

Information Module

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